Postal workers picket, rally near Capitol against 5-day delivery plan

dquizon@newsobserver.comMarch 24, 2013 

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Postal employee Lloyd Coffey, center, from New Bern protests the proposed stoppage of Saturday mail delivery at a rally held on Bicentennial Plaza in downtown Raleigh, NC on March 24, 2013.

DEREK QUIZON — dquizon@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

About 40 people braved inclement weather on Sunday to protest proposed cuts to the U.S. Postal Service that would end Saturday delivery.

Yesterday’s event was one of two in North Carolina, and one of many protests at state Capitols across the country. The National Association of Letter Carriers mobilized its local chapters to call attention to proposals to end Saturday deliveries.

“Neither rain, nor snow, nor the postmaster general’s misguided plan will stay these supporters from protecting six-day delivery,” shouted Craig Schadwald, vice president of the association’s state chapter.

Schadwald led postal workers and family members in chants of “Six days a week” on a megaphone as they stood on Bicentennial Plaza, near the Capitol, in the rain and the cold.

The letter carriers’ group says the move would reduce pay and cut an estimated 22,500 jobs. Instead, it’s calling for a plan that would explore “new business opportunities and revenue streams.”

Last month, Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe announced plans to cut Saturday mail service – while keeping six-day package delivery. Donohoe estimates the plan would save $2 billion a year and provided needed financial relief for an organization that lost almost $16 billion in revenue last year.

But a report from the Government Accountability Office, released last week said the postal service must deliver six days a week, as mandated by last year’s spending bill.

The Postal Service is disputing the finding, saying that mandate expires with the current temporary spending bill, which is set to run out this Wednesday.

Protesters at Saturday’s event said they were fighting to keep full service mail delivery on Saturday — not just parcel delivery.

“(The law) is not vague, we all know it’s perfectly clear – six-day delivery, period,” Schadwald said. “Not six-day parcel delivery.”

Brian Demato, who came from New Bern for the protest, said he’s worried it could be the first step toward dissolving the postal service.

“This will be a death spiral, economically, if we lose that day of delivery – that’s a lot of revenue,” Demato said. “If that doesn’t work out, the next step is, ‘Well, maybe we should go to four-day delivery.’ Three, two, one – down to nothing.”

Lloyd Coffey, who also works in New Bern, said Congress and the USPS should turn their attention to service’s practice of “pre-funding” retiree health costs 75 years in advance.

Congress passed this mandate in 2007, and it costs the service about $5.5 billion every year.

“Pre-funding is what’s killing the Postal Service,” Coffey said. “Congress just needs to get off their rear ends and straighten everything out.”

Quizon: 919-836-5768

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